Winter is over and everyone is trying to forget the snow storms of 2015 and 2016. What better way to escape this memory than get the family loaded up and head out for a few days. Before we go, though, we need to be sure our vehicles are in top travel-wise condition.
We have often discussed the importance of “rubber and fluids” as the starting point of checking our vehicles before a trip. This still stands since tires, belts and hoses combine to make up the majority of road failures. Also, oil, coolant and other critical fluids need constant attention, even on today’s “smart” cars.
Since winter weather and poor road conditions can damage your vehicle inside and out, now is a great time to get a spring check-up.
- Look and listen on a road test. Listen for noises when braking and accelerating. Is the vehicle swaying or drifting to one side? Does the vehicle bounce more over bumps or doesn’t perform well with sudden stops? Note anything you notice to alert the technicians of your concerns.
- Inspect tires for even wear and correct tire pressure. Rotate and balance your tires and have the alignment checked to keep tires lasting.
- Look up manufactures recommendations for the current mileage and confirm previous recommended services have been done. You can find recommendations at http://www.carcare.org/
- Perform brake inspection and undercarriage inspection. Inspect pad linings, rotors/drums, brake lines, and fluid condition. Look for physical damage, rust or dents undercarriage including shocks and struts.
- Have any leaks inspected by a professional. Inspect condition of all fluids and service ones that are due.
- Perform an oil and filter change.
- Inspect or replace wipers
- Inspect belts and hoses for signs of wear and damage. Belts control most systems in the car: AC, power steering, and electrical system. A broken belt can leave you stranded. Hoses sometimes deteriorate from within, so having the cooling system checked and hoses replaced due to age and mileage can save you money and time.
- Last, give your car a good wash and wax, repair any minor paint damage, and check all the exterior lights to make sure all bulbs are working properly.
Also, in the past several years we have had a critical need to watch our fuel efficiency and a few reminder tips never hurt.
- Never overload any vehicle’s tires. The owner’s manual will list air pressures for light load and comfort and will often give different readings for large loads (including rear passengers). Higher than recommended pressures can cause handling problems, and low pressures cause overheating and blowouts, so confirm the tires are set to proper specifications. Maximum safe pressure ratings are listed on the sides of all tires, and you must never exceed this rating.
- Replace your air filter.
- Have us advise on a fuel injection service and tune up services. Your vehicle may do well in town, but have problems at cruising speeds with additional loads. Spark plugs and plug wire problems, and dirty fuel injectors show up here, more so than under light loads. Also, changing your external fuel filter at regular mileage intervals is a good preventive maintenance service.
- Never overload any vehicle’s roof. Many vehicles have roof racks for light loads. These should not exceed 18 inches high or more than 100 pounds as a general rule. Be certain they are secured properly and wind and weather proof. You often see evidence of incorrect load mounting on the side of interstates, and shifting loads are extremely dangerous, especially on SUV’s. Most SUV’s are top-heavy and should be loaded inside, below the level of the seat backs to prevent flying objects in sudden stops. Tie-downs are recommended.
These few simple steps might keep you in the pool or on the beach rather than waiting for a vehicle repair while you are on the road. Happy spring travels!
**************Trip Inspections $98.00******************************
Our Trip Inspection is a indepth forty point PASS/FAIL inspection under designed to give owners important information about their cars. It aides consumers in prioritizing needed repairs, recommended services, and preventive maintenance services. Many of our clients do a yearly trip inspection in spring for a thorough check over for needed services now and then budget services for the upcoming year. This inspections categories includes:
- Test Drive
- Maintenance check list including under hood and under carriage components: AC temp output, drive belts cracking and fraying, engine hoses for leaks, cracks, loose clamps, brittle or soft areas. and cooling system for proper level, condition and concentration. Proper operation of heat and defrost controls. Tire tread and pressure, inspect for uneven tire wear and alignment issues. Suspension operation and balance issues. Inspect all other fluids accessible, exterior light operation and under hood wiring and vacuum hose system
We look forward to seeing you!
**********SPRING SPECIALS ARE NOW $89.00! ********************
Call today for your appointment and receive our spring car care special that includes:
Oil change (up to 5 qts stock oil and filter),
Brake inspection and tire rotation (if requested).
Service battery terminals and cable ends. Inspect for signs of corrosion or poor fitment.
Maintenance check list including: AC temp output, drive belts cracking and fraying, engine hoses for leaks, cracks, loose clamps, brittle or soft areas. and cooling system for proper level, condition and concentration. Proper operation of heat and defrost controls. Tire tread and pressure, inspect for uneven tire wear and alignment issues. Suspension operation and balance issues. Inspect all other fluids accessible, exterior light operation and under hood wiring and vacuum hose system.
Watch our pre-trip video for more information